OGDEN -- Midtown Community Health Center has received a $10,000 donation from Intermountain Healthcare to help improve access to health care.
The donation will allow Midtown to provide medication management and visits to an additional 200 patients discharged from either the emergency department or the inpatient psychiatric unit over the course of a year, said Lisa Nichols, executive director of the health center.
Nichols said Midtown has an integrated behavioral health clinic with Weber Human Services designed to ensure that people with serious mental illness have access to a full range of primary and behavioral health services.
"People who are seriously and persistently mentally ill live, on average, 25 years less than those who are not," Nichols said. "Part of the issue is access to sensitive health care services and pharmaceuticals."
Nichols said it is particularly challenging for individuals without insurance. Midtown currently serves nearly 1,000 individuals who are uninsured and are seriously mentally ill.
"We are at capacity to provide medication management for new patients," she said. "An average of three people are turned away daily. These individuals are left untreated or seek more expensive care through the emergency department."
Kevin Eastman, executive director for Weber Human Services, said the donation will have a positive impact. However, more is needed. He said many of the people Midtown will treat with the donation will be the same people Medicaid expansion would cover if the state decides to participate.
"Many analysts believe that, although expansion will definitely cost more, it will be a savings in comparison to what is spent in charity and high-cost ER and impatient costs because people are not getting the preventive care because they have no coverage to begin with," he said.
Eastman said obtaining care early may save a patient from becoming worse.
"This can save them from long-term effects that sometimes they never can rebound from," he said. "If you can do that, you may never need long-term stabilization services in an inpatient setting."
Chris Dallin, McKay-Dee Hospital public relations director, said Intermountain Healthcare hopes the donation will help prevent, detect and treat chronic diseases associated with weight and unhealthy behavior, provide access to comprehensive high-quality healthcare for uninsured and low-income people and provide access to appropriate behavioral health services in the same population.
"Many of the patients that will now have the ability to be seen and treated through Midtown due to our partnership and the additional funding will no longer have the hospital emergency room as their only avenue for treatment."